OWN’s Extraordinary Acts of Courage delivered another episode of incredible stories. From the country to the past, viewers are taken on journeys that remind us of how important it is to help those in need. You don’t have to be strong or fast, you just need to care enough to try.
The first story involved a young 12 year old boy, Kyle Lemmings, from McLoud, Oklahoma and his grandmother, Rhonda Godwin. Kyle’s life was a bit hectic. With his parents separating and a bit of a rebellious streak, the family thought it would be a good idea for him to head out and spend a few days in the country with his grandmother. After getting Kyle’s help with a few tasks, Rhonda suggested they take a break and head out on ATVs for a bit of fun. Now, not everyone has a grandmother who likes to go out four-wheeling and after hearing this story that may be a good thing. Rhonda had driven out to show Kyle a beaver dam. As they started to turn around to head back, Rhonda tried to turn around but found her four-wheeler headed down a hill towards the water. With the emergency break not working and not being able to put it in reverse, things got worse. She ended up hitting a stump that flipped her four-wheeler and landed her underneath it in about 4 feet of water. She was pinned and fighting for her life. Kyle leaped into the water lifted the four-wheeler and pulled his grandmother to safety. He drove her to the house and called her husband. Once she reached the emergency room, the determined she had a broken collar bone and wrist. She knew if it hadn’t been for her grandson, she wouldn’t be alive. With a new perspective on life, Kyle headed down a new path…one that he and his family were proud of. Often times things occur in our lives that change us forever. The impact can completely redirect us. For most, what truly matters becomes intensified and we have a chance to make a change. On that day, Kyle became a hero and he will never be the same.
The next story occurred in Boston. It isn’t the typical story covered in this show, but it was just as powerful. Tammie Brownlee had been in a fatal fire when she was young. She lost her entire family that day. Her photo had been taken the night of the fire and she hoped that by researching it, she could find answers and lead her to the firefighter who had saved her life. By contacting the photographer, Stanley Forman, he was able to fill in a few gaps and point her in the direction of the firefighter who saved her, Alfred Chase. Alfred had entered the engulfed apartment and found Tammie’s mother over her two children. Pulling Tammie out from under her mother he realized she was unconscious. He placed his oxygen onto her and ran her out to the hallway. He handed her off to the man in the photo. Tammie was only 3 years old. By finding Alfred and Stanley, Tammie was able to put many of her questions to rest….and meet the hero that saved her life.
The last story involved NFL superstar, Tony Gonzalez, could be called a hero by many football fans, but now he can truly claim the title. One night when he was out to dinner with his wife and brother…the same night Ken Hunter decided to head out for some steak. As Tony enjoyed the evening, he heard Ken’s girlfriend yelling. Ken was choking. Although Tony had never taken a first aid class, he ran over and performed Heimlich maneuver on Ken. A simple wrap around hug with a few thrusts and a life was saved. Before this even happened Ken knew Tony….he had been a fan for a long time. He wanted to do something to show his appreciation and Tony told him he could donate to his charity “Shadow Buddies“. Ken did just that. Once again, being in the right place at the right time…all you need to do is react and help to be a hero and save a life. I am sure Ken will be a Tony Gonzalez fan for life!
Every one of us has the ability to show up for someone in need. To be a hero in the eyes of family or strangers. All it takes is the courage to try.